Breast reconstruction is a personal decision. Any breast reconstructive procedures can be performed by board certified or board eligible plastic surgeon. While some breast surgical oncologist can perform oncoplastic reconstruction after lumpectomy the overwhelming majority of breast reconstruction after mastectomy is performed by plastic surgeons in the United States. Implant based reconstruction is performed by most plastic surgeons. Perforator based autologous free flap breast reconstruction is performed by very few reconstructive surgeons that have passion and training in microsurgery. Choosing a plastic surgeon who specializes in the type of reconstruction you desire is the first step. Equally as important is finding a physician that makes you feel comfortable. Surgeons' experience is critical to achieve consistently great outcomes.
When you start making plans for this procedure, it helps to begin by researching board-eligible/certified plastic surgeons who have specific experience in autologous free flap breast reconstruction surgery. You can also ask for recommendations from your primary care physician, surgical and medical oncologist, or friends and family who have undergone similar procedures.
Once you have identified potential surgeons, schedule consultations to discuss their approach to breast reconstruction and review their before and after photos. Ask if they allow you to speak to their previous patients. During the consultation, it’s essential to feel comfortable and confident in the surgeon’s abilities and communication style. This journey is an emotional one. It is important to choose a team that can communicate through shared decision making. Also, the team can make decisions for you when you want or need them too.
In almost every case, breast reconstruction after mastectomy is covered by medical insurance due to the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998. Your surgeon, and particularly their office, should be familiar with insurance billing and the coverage process. Surgeons and their support teams who frequently handle breast reconstruction should have a thorough understanding of exactly what medical insurance will cover for this procedure and how to communicate with you about approximate out-of-pocket costs upfront.
The surgeon should discuss their general philosophy about surgery and the balance between aesthetics and well-being.
Complex medical procedures can be confusing sometimes. Be sure to ask follow-up questions if you don’t understand something, and look for the doctor to find ways to make each step clear for you. You should not feel pressured. The goal is to find someone you feel completely secure with.
Plastic surgery practices can focus on different aspects of plastic surgery. Finding a practice that specializes in breast reconstruction can accommodate your care faster and is more likely to work with multiple breast surgical oncologists.
The amount of breast reconstructions those surgeons perform can help you understand their focus and passion. If you are considering autologous perforator free flap microsurgery, volume speaks to success and complications. In general, high volume microsurgeons are likely to be consistently successful, utilizing a two-surgeon approach, and performing the surgery 2-5 times per week.
Some breast reconstruction focused practices have their former patients willing to speak to prospective patients about their personal experience. Some are associated with patient advocacy groups. It's a team approach, therefore make sure the practice does have a team of surgeons and staff to support you 24/7 though the process.
At Southwest Breast & Aesthetics, our highly qualified surgeons would be happy to meet with you and talk about your options and how they can help.
Your journey to better begins with a consultation at Southwest Breast and Aesthetics. Our plastic surgeons set the standards for plastic surgery through their innovative procedures and meticulous attention to detail. Discover a better experience by booking your consultation at Southwest Breast and Aesthetics today.